The Temperature of Me and You by Brian Zepka #bookreview #YA #scifi

Sixteen-year-old Dylan Highmark thought his winter was going to be full of boring shifts at the Dairy Queen, until he finds himself in love with a boy who’s literally too hot to handle.

Dylan has always wanted a boyfriend, but the suburbs surrounding Philadelphia do not have a lot in the way of options. Then, in walks Jordan, a completely normal (and undeniably cute) boy who also happens to run at a cool 110 degrees Fahrenheit. When the boys start spending time together, Dylan begins feeling all kinds of ways, and when he spikes a fever for two weeks and is suddenly coughing flames, he thinks he might be suffering from something more than just a crush. Jordan forces Dylan to keep his symptoms a secret. But as the pressure mounts and Dylan becomes distant with his closest friends and family, he pushes Jordan for answers. Jordan’s revelations of why he’s like this, where he came from, and who’s after him leaves Dylan realizing how much first love is truly out of this world. And if Earth supports life that breathes oxygen, then love can only keep Jordan and Dylan together for so long.

Full confession – from the description and cover, for some reason I thought Jordan would be an alien. That was an incorrect assumption.

Dylan’s ride or die friendships with Perry and Kirsten is one of my favorite aspects of this story. They absolutely show up for each other. I also chuckled at how Dylan’s parents maybe became a little oversupportive when he came out to them. His teasing relationship with his little sister is adorable. The author also changed my opinion about a mean, petty character, and that person turned out to have a pretty good redemption arc.

Other areas I struggled with. Pacing is uneven, but then it seems like a rush to get to the ending. I even wondered if there was a sequel since everything wraps up so quickly. With some character choices and situations, suspending my disbelief became difficult. They didn’t seem logical within the story, and I was left scratching my head when some aspects were never mentioned again. The storyline is interesting, but I craved more of an explanation for Jordan’s and Dylan’s powers.

Reviews are split, and plenty of readers adored this book. It’s an enjoyable read, but it’s one I’d recommend for the younger end of the YA spectrum.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

If the Light Escapes by Brenda Marie Smith #bookreview #postapocalyptic #scifi

A sequel to IF DARKNESS TAKES US

A solar electromagnetic pulse has fried the U.S. grid. Now, northern lights are in Texas—3,000 miles farther south than where they belong. The universe won’t stop screwing with 18-year-old Keno Simms. All that’s left for him and his broken family is farming their Austin subdivision, trying to eke out a living on poor soil in the scorching heat.

Keno’s one solace is his love for Alma, who has her own secret sorrows. When he gets her pregnant, he vows to keep her alive no matter what. Yet armed marauders and nature itself collude against him, forcing him to make choices that rip at his conscience.

IF THE LIGHT ESCAPES is post-apocalyptic science fiction set in a near-future reality, a coming-of-age story told in the voice of a heroic teen who’s forced into manhood too soon.

It’s not often you come across a senior citizen main character in a postapocalyptic setting, but grandma Bea was certainly a commanding presence in the first book of this series. Her grandson, Keno, also made an impression on me, so I was thrilled to learn he takes over in this sequel.

This book picks up where the last left off. The group is still in dire straits after the electromagnetic pulse, but they’ve managed to combine resources. With careful rationing, they’re able to stay fed and sheltered, but water is in short supply. There’s barely enough to drink, let alone wash clothes or shower. With Bea unable to lead the community, her son, Eddie, and Keno step in. At only eighteen-years-old, Keno is already married and shoulders a huge responsibility in keeping his small community of survivors safe and alive. It’s not an easy job. He’s also dealing with a deranged, selfish grandfather who’s partial to carrying around dangerous weapons and threatening the neighbors.

Lack of resources isn’t the only danger. Armed scavengers are raiding neighborhoods and killing residents, and they’re not far from Keno’s community. Losing loved ones is a real possibility, and characters are forced to make difficult decisions, especially Keno, who’s had to grow up far too soon. At times he’s wise beyond his years and a voice of reason, but when the stress becomes too much, he regresses to an immature teen who makes decisions without considering the consequences. The author did a fabulous job at displaying those contrasting emotions, and my heart went out to him.

This novel portrays a bleak picture of people who struggle daily just to survive in a postapocalyptic world, but it’s also hopeful and demonstrates what a community can do when they come together. You’ll experience the gamut of emotions with this one, but putting it down is next to impossible. I’m ready for the next book!

Unraveling Eleven (Eleven Trilogy #2) by Jerri Chisholm #bookreview #YA #dystopian

In Compound Eleven, freedom from tyranny is impossible.

My name is Eve Hamilton, and I’ve managed the impossible.

I am free.

Until just like that, it is wrenched from my grasp. And this time, the corridors of the dark underground city are even more dangerous than ever before. But my brief taste of freedom has left me with something useful, something powerful, something that terrifies the leaders of Compound Eleven.

And now I have a monster inside.

One I’ll need to learn to control, and fast, or I’ll lose everything and everyone I hold dear. Starting with Wren Edelman. The one boy who has taught me that anything is possible if we stick together.

But will that matter if I become the very thing he fears the most? 

After the cliffhanger ending in Escaping Eleven, I was ecstatic to see book two available so soon and jumped to request it from NetGalley.

This book picks up immediately where the first left off. Eve and Wren have escaped Compound Eleven without detection and are truly free for the first time in their lives. They’re breathing fresh air, have real dirt beneath their feet, and encounter plants and animals they’ve never seen. The above ground world is theirs for the taking – very briefly. They soon realize they’re not equipped to survive in this world. Half-starved, dehydrated, and recovering from food poisoning, they limp back to Compound Eleven and resume their lives. But many questions remain, the biggest being why the governing body hasn’t let the citizens know above ground is once again safe. Eve and Wren are determined to discover the answer.

There’s no doubt Eve is a strong protagonist, but I quickly grew annoyed with her drama queen act in the first half of the book. Everything is about her, and she lacks the ability to see the broader picture, something that’s more of a strength for Wren, and he challenges her to be better. Eve’s mouth and fists get her in trouble several times, and it becomes tiresome. Luckily, she comes to her senses in the second half of the book and makes significant strides. That’s where the story took off for me. Startling and unnerving discoveries come to light, especially for Wren, which lead them to a life-threatening point of no return. Seriously, book three can’t get here fast enough. Some new characters make a significant impact on the story, but I’m not so sure they’re trustworthy. They should figure prominently in the next book.

Expect a roller coaster of emotions with this one and extensive character development with our flawed MCs. Also expect satisfaction when some characters get what’s coming to them. I still have questions about aspects of Wren’s background that were hinted at in the first book, but it’s something that may come into play in the next. If you’re a dystopian fan, I recommend checking out this series.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

#BadMoonRising Ailuros by Matt Doyle #horror #LGBTQ #scifi

If you’ve been a regular at BMR over the years, you’re probably familiar with today’s author. Their featured book is classified as ergodic (a new word for me!), and the format is explained below. Oh – and they might have lived with a ghost cat in a previous house. No biggie. Welcome Matt Doyle!

Would you rather dunk for apples or carve a Jack o’ lantern?

Oh, pumpkin carving, definitely. It sounds odd, but I can’t swim, so apple dunking kinda freaks me out a little. Plus, I’ve been terrible at it the times I’ve done it. Pumpkin carving, I can do though. My brother is better at it, he does some really intricate designs. Like, he once did a Frank the Rabbit form Donnie Darko that was superb. Mine are a little more simple, but I still enjoy it.

If you watch horror movies, are you the person who yells at the characters, covers your eyes, or falls asleep?

I’m actually none of these. I do get frustrated with character choices if they’re poorly written, but never enough to actually shout at the screen. I’ve not fallen asleep in a horror film yet. I don’t cover my eyes, but I have been freaked out a few times. Like, the first time I watched A Tale of Two Sisters, for example. I was living with my parents at the time. There’s a scene with a girl under an oven, and my parent’s had a similar looking oven. I remember, after the film finished, my first thought was, ‘Now I have to walk past that oven.’ I literally ran to my room that night.

Do you ever see figures in your peripheral vision?

Yup, a few times. I’m convinced we used to have a ghost cat in my old house. I’d catch sight of it running under the table, and a couple of times, my old dog would chase it. It was spooky, but not really scary. When it comes to ghostly type stuff, I’m more likely to smell something than see it though.

If you could spend the day with another popular author, who would you choose?

The sadly departed Terry Pratchett would be one, as he was notoriously a really nice person, and always willing to give advice. His books had a massive impact on my childhood too, and continue to be favorites now. Failing that, if we’re looking at living authors, Mark Z. Danielewski. His House of Leaves was a big influence on how I view fiction, and what I’m trying to do with AILUROS. He has a great mind for storytelling and trying something new, so I think he’d be fascinating to chat to.

How would you describe your book’s ideal reader?

Hmm…that’s a tough one, because AILUROS is an odd book. I’d say the ideal reader is one who is willing to try something a little different. The layout is unusual. The paperback is split with one story on the right-hand pages told through prose and audio transcripts, and a second story on the left-hand pages told through notes on the first story. Meanwhile, the eBook is the same but with the notes set up as pop-up endnotes. The ideal reader for it needs to be willing to embrace that, I think. Outside that, enjoying a sci-fi setting, more than a dash of horror, and LGBTQ protagonists certainly helps too.

What are you working on now?

I’m not actually sure, believe it or not! At the time of writing, I’m mostly working through trying to build hype for AILUROS, so I haven’t started anything new. Once I start the next one though…I have a few things to choose from. I have a choose-your-own-adventures style book that I want to work on. There’s also another experimental one that I’m thinking about, but I’m still trying to finalize the story in my head. And then there are the Simon Tell rewrites, plus a D&D campaign for friends…there’s so much!

#Begin

In the <present//future>, Josh and Alex must face <a//their own> monster if they are to salvage <their relationship//Ailuros Unit 23>.

These are/are not separate stories.

The following report represents a summary of the incident involving the abandoned microgravity holiday destination, Ailuros Unit Twenty-Three, and the crew of the Salvagers Guild Three ship, The Orca. The report is comprised primarily of the official transcripts of both the aforementioned events onboard the unit and my interview with Guild Director, Sarah Walker. The final entry consists of my summarizing thoughts on the case.

As is often the case in investigations such as this, in the end, Ailuros itself is as much the key to understanding the events as the people involved are.

Circumstances, as well as personal choices, are important, after all.

Purchase Link

Amazon – Fractured Mirror Publishing

Author Bio and Social Media

Matt Doyle is a speculative fiction author from the UK and identifies as pansexual and genderfluid. Matt has spent a great deal of time chasing dreams, a habit which has led to success in a great number of fields. To date, this has included spending ten years as a professional wrestler, completing a range of cosplay projects, and publishing multiple works of fiction.

These days, Matt can be found working on multiple novels and stories, blogging about pop culture, and plotting and planning far too many projects.


Website
 – Twitter –  Facebook

Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury #bookreview #YA #urbanfantasy #scifi #TuesdayBookBlog

A rich, dark urban fantasy debut following a teen witch who is given a horrifying task: sacrificing her first love to save her family’s magic. The problem is, she’s never been in love—she’ll have to find the perfect guy before she can kill him.

After years of waiting for her Calling—a trial every witch must pass in order to come into their powers—the one thing Voya Thomas didn’t expect was to fail. When Voya’s ancestor gives her an unprecedented second chance to complete her Calling, she agrees—and then is horrified when her task is to kill her first love. And this time, failure means every Thomas witch will be stripped of their magic.

Voya is determined to save her family’s magic no matter the cost. The problem is, Voya has never been in love, so for her to succeed, she’ll first have to find the perfect guy—and fast. Fortunately, a genetic matchmaking program has just hit the market. Her plan is to join the program, fall in love, and complete her task before the deadline. What she doesn’t count on is being paired with the infuriating Luc—how can she fall in love with a guy who seemingly wants nothing to do with her?

With mounting pressure from her family, Voya is caught between her morality and her duty to her bloodline. If she wants to save their heritage and Luc, she’ll have to find something her ancestor wants more than blood. And in witchcraft, blood is everything.

The main reason I requested this book, other than that beautiful cover, is the high stakes/high pressure situation Voya is put in and the mention of witches and genetics.

I didn’t realize this was a futuristic Toronto setting (why aren’t more books set in Canada?), but that made me like it even more. I’m pretty sure I’ve never read about futuristic witches. The mixture of urban fantasy and sci-fi was also surprising, and now I’m wondering why there aren’t more novels with this blend of genres.

The first several pages are an introduction to Voya’s family – and it’s a large one. Honestly, a family tree might have helped with this dysfunctional bunch. They argue, insult, and mess with one another, but it’s clear the love runs deeply, and family is a priority. In Voya’s case, she puts everyone ahead of her own interests and desires and suffers from a severe case of low self esteem. She’s been anxious for her Calling, but fears she’ll be the first of her family in decades not to come into her powers. Flawed and full of self-doubt, you can’t help rooting for her. Voya is also a talented cook, using some of her own original recipes as well as her ancestors’ (yes, I totally drooled – but maybe not over the goat dishes), and I enjoyed learning about the Trinidadian culture.

Luc (thrilled he’s a trans character) is a tough nut to crack. He initially comes across as an arrogant genius, but with Voya’s prodding his walls gradually disintegrate. As a complex character I still think there are several layers left undiscovered, and I’m not sure how I felt about him at the end of the novel. It’s an ending I couldn’t have predicted.

Voya’s Calling is a seemingly impossible task with terrible consequences no matter which decision she makes. I had no idea how this would play out and almost dreaded seeing what she’d do. The magic system is well thought out and, although complicated, is explained well. One of my favorite things about this world is how accepting it is of all genders, identities, and sexualities, and the characters are diverse. At nearly five hundred pages, this is a long one for YA, but it’s the first of a series and contains the initial world-building.

Impossible stakes, magic, a dysfunctional, loving family, first love, and killings, Blood Like Magic contains a multi-layered plot and a MC asked to make an impossible choice. I’m axious to see where this series goes next.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Rabbits by Terry Miles #bookreview #scifi #technothriller

Conspiracies abound in this surreal and yet all-too-real technothriller in which a deadly underground alternate reality game might just be altering reality itself, set in the same world as the popular Rabbits podcast.

It’s an average work day. You’ve been wrapped up in a task, and you check the clock when you come up for air–4:44 pm. You go to check your email, and 44 unread messages have built up. With a shock, you realize it is April 4th–4/4. And when you get in your car to drive home, your odometer reads 44,444. Coincidence? Or have you just seen the edge of a rabbit hole?

Rabbits is a mysterious alternate reality game so vast it uses our global reality as its canvas. Since the game first started in 1959, ten iterations have appeared and nine winners have been declared. Their identities are unknown. So is their reward, which is whispered to be NSA or CIA recruitment, vast wealth, immortality, or perhaps even the key to unlocking the secrets of the universe itself. But the deeper you get, the more deadly the game becomes. Players have died in the past–and the body count is rising.

And now the eleventh round is about to begin. Enter K–a Rabbits obsessive who has been trying to find a way into the game for years. That path opens when K is approached by billionaire Alan Scarpio, the alleged winner of the sixth iteration. Scarpio says that something has gone wrong with the game and that K needs to fix it before Eleven starts or the whole world will pay the price.

Five days later, Scarpio is declared missing. Two weeks after that, K blows the deadline and Eleven begins. And suddenly, the fate of the entire universe is at stake.

I couldn’t resist this description of an alternate reality game – and it turned out to be a mindbender of a book.

I wasn’t familiar with the Rabbits podcast created by this author, but after checking it out it seems to be pretty popular. The website states it’s a documentary/docudrama, and the show’s producers won’t admit it isn’t real. That little niggle at the back of my brain wondering if this could really happen made this story even more appealing for me. The game of Rabbits is kind of like Fight Club – you don’t talk about it, it doesn’t exist, and you tell no one you’re playing. Rumors about its purpose have surrounded the game for years, and the identities of the winners are unknown. It involves finding patterns, inconsistencies, and following clues in our everyday world, and the players seem to be pretty tech savvy and geniuses at detecting subtle irregularities.

After K is contacted by Scarpio (a former winner – maybe?) who tells him something has gone wrong with the game, things take a dark turn. Players go missing and/or turn up dead. K has had some issues in his past and at times is unsure of what’s real and what’s not – along with the reader. He loses time, encounters shadow figures, and remembers movies that don’t exist. My jaw dropped more than once at unanticipated twists, and I formed all sorts of theories.

At times, you’ll feel like you’re literally going down a rabbit hole with the characters, then look up at the clock and see you’ve also lost time because you need to know what’s happening. With quantum physics, alternate realities, false memory syndrome, and more, Rabbits is a trippy and often baffling novel I’d recommend to avid sci-fi fans. Now I’ll be looking for patterns and inconsistencies everywhere.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

The Ones We’re Meant To Find by Joan He #bookreview #scifi #YA

One of the most twisty, surprising, engaging page-turner YAs you’ll read this year—We Were Liars meets Black Mirror, with a dash of Studio Ghibli.

Cee awoke on an abandoned island three years ago. With no idea of how she was marooned, she only has a rickety house, an old android, and a single memory: she has a sister, and Cee needs to find her.

STEM prodigy Kasey wants escape from the science and home she once trusted. The eco-city—Earth’s last unpolluted place—is meant to be sanctuary for those commited to planetary protection, but it’s populated by people willing to do anything for refuge, even lie. Now, she’ll have to decide if she’s ready to use science to help humanity, even though it failed the people who mattered most. 

I saw reviewers raving about this book on Goodreads and a few blogs. Being a sci-fi fan, I had to request it.

While this cover is beautiful, it doesn’t scream sci-fi/dystopia to me. I honestly assumed it was YA contemporary until I read the description, and I’m afraid it may be targeting the wrong group of readers. The worldbuilding is the big standout for me in this novel. Earth is overpolluted and nearly uninhabitable, and citizens have taken to living in ecocities in the sky. If you rank high enough, that is. Most people don’t and have little chance of getting in. Oceans are poisoned and natural disasters occur frequently, killing millions. Time is running out.

Told in alternating POVs between Cee and Kasey, discrepancies in their stories arise early in the book. By Cee’s count, she’s been on the island three years. Kasey says she’s been missing only months. The mystery about what exactly is going on will keep readers turning the pages, but I have to admit I guessed it early. I’ve probably read too many sci-fi books, and I came across a similar premise in another novel a few years ago that clued me in.

If contemporary fans pick this up, I suspect the strong bond between the sisters will be the draw for them, and it’s a driving force in the plot. Cee loves life and is carefree, while Kasey is more at home in a science lab working alone. With me being more a fan of sci-fi than contemporary, the relationship aspect didn’t appeal to me as much.

It’s a grim story, but comes with stunning plot twists that have surprised most readers and complex worldbuilding. If you’re a fan of sci-fi/dystopia who enjoys mysterious puzzles or like reading novels with strong sibling bonds, this book may captivate you.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

We Could Be Heroes by Mike Chen #bookreview #blogtour #scifi

An extraordinary and emotional adventure about unlikely friends and the power of choosing who you want to be.

Jamie woke up in an empty apartment with no memory and only a few clues to his identity, but with the ability to read and erase other people’s memories—a power he uses to hold up banks to buy coffee, cat food and books.

Zoe is also searching for her past, and using her abilities of speed and strength…to deliver fast food. And she’ll occasionally put on a cool suit and beat up bad guys, if she feels like it.

When the archrivals meet in a memory-loss support group, they realize the only way to reveal their hidden pasts might be through each other. As they uncover an ongoing threat, suddenly much more is at stake than their fragile friendship. With countless people at risk, Zoe and Jamie will have to recognize that sometimes being a hero starts with trusting someone else—and yourself.

I was on the fence about requesting this book, but how can you not like a guy who robs banks (they’re insured!) to pay for cat food, books, and coffee? I also enjoyed Chen’s character-driven, postapocalyptic book, A Beginning at the End.

Some Twitter talk gave me the impression this book was more humorous than it actually is – in the majority of it, anyway. I chuckled a few times in the first couple chapters – then it takes a more serious tone – but the last thirty percent upped my rating to four stars. That’s when I really fell for these characters and their ride or die friendship (which started out nowhere close to that level).

Both Jamie and Zoe possess superhero powers, their origin a mystery. They have big blanks in their memories, and each of them awoke two years ago in separate strange rooms with no idea of who they were or how they got there. Taking on hero and villain personas, they only know each other as Throwing Star and Mind Robber, although Zoe isn’t your typical hero and Jamie certainly isn’t a supervillain. Both are wonderfully flawed, and their lives are messy. Once they decide working together will get them more answers about their pasts, much of the story is spent on that quest.

Don’t expect any jaw-dropping revelations to fall from the sky. It’s relatively easy to figure out what’s going on before the characters do. At around the seventy percent mark, the story takes an unexpected turn and, for me anyway, that’s when it becomes somewhat humorous. The overall message is that anyone can be a hero or a villain – it’s how you choose to use your powers and live your life that makes a difference in the world. With some fun action scenes, impressive character growth, and a strong theme of friendship, We Could Be Heroes is a satisfying read.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

Mike Chen is the author of Here And Now And Then (a finalist for Goodreads Choice – Best Sci-Fi, CALIBA Golden Poppy, and the Compton Crook Award) and A Beginning At The End (“a brilliant, fragile path through the darkness” — Library Journal). His short fiction is featured in Star Wars: From A Certain Point Of View — The Empire Strikes Back, and he has covered geek culture for sites such as Tor.com, The Mary Sue, and StarTrek.com. In a previous life, he covered the NHL for Fox Sports, SB Nation, and other outlets. A member of SFWA, Mike lives in the Bay Area with his wife, daughter, and rescue animals. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram: @mikechenwriter

Conscience by Jonathan Pongratz #novella #scifi

Rory Bennels lives in a world ruled by a business entity known as the Corporation. For years he’s executed cerebral uploads for the recently deceased, but when the famed anarchist Epher Lore ends up in his lab, a series of events occur that shakes Rory’s world to the core.

I’ve been a science fiction fan since before I hit double digits in age, and I read across the board in the genre.  As a fan of this author’s horror novella, I was immediately interested in checking out his venture into sci-fi.

Cerebral upload isn’t a new concept to me, but the author puts a different spin on it.  What happens when the upload is from a wanted anarchist who has repeatedly eluded authorities and is accidentally transferred into a robot?

Rory is a follow-the-rules type of guy who’s just keeping his head down and doing his job, but then everything he believes about his world changes almost in the blink of an eye.  He’s forced to make a quick decision that will forever alter his life, and you’ll cheer him on until the last page.

Although this is a quick story, the author does a wonderful job with character development, and there’s plenty of action to go along with it.  If you’re a sci-fi/dystopian fan, I highly recommend this novella.  I’d be interested in seeing what happens next to these characters.

I was an early reader of this novella and received a complimentary copy from the author.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

The Key to Fear (The Key #1) by Kristin Cast #bookreview #YA #dystopian

To Health.
To Life.
To the Future.

We are The Key.
‘No touching today for a healthy tomorrow.’

Elodie obeys The Key. Elodie obeys the rules. Elodie trusts in the system. At least, Elodie used to…

Aidan is a rebel. Aidan doesn’t do what he’s told. Aidan just wants to be free. Aidan is on his last chance…

After a pandemic wiped out most of the human race, The Key took power. The Key dictates the rules. They govern in order to keep people safe. But as Elodie and Aidan begin to discover there is another side to The Key, they realise not everything is as it seems.

Rather than playing protector, The Key are playing God.

Reading a book about a pandemic wiping out most of the human race may not be everyone’s cup of tea right now, but the blurb hooked me right away.

What would the world look like if touching was forbidden?  The world-building is impressive, and it’s obvious the author put a lot of time into creating it.  Everything from personal pods to procreation techniques is covered.  Citizens don’t date – they’re matched by The Key based on compatible genetics and given jobs determined by assessment tests.  Everything is sterile and impersonal – free choice is practically nonexistent.  What I missed was more information on how the pandemic came about and when and how The Key came into power.  A little more backstory would have filled in some blanks.

I liked that conformist Elodie and rebellious Aiden are polar opposities – the rule follower and the rule challenger.  Early on, it’s clear that Elodie doesn’t exactly obey all the rules, and I liked that about her.  It didn’t come as such a shock when she began questioning things.  The insta-love between them really wasn’t necessary for the plot – I think the story would have worked fine without it, but that’s just my opinion.

Pacing was an issue for me as not a lot happens in the first half of the story.  Around the 80% mark, things take off to the point that the ending feels rushed, but it’s a good place for the next book to begin.

If you’re in the mood for a dystopian set post-pandemic, The Key to Fear is a timely read with well-developed characters.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.  Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.